Portland won 6-4
Clay Hensley had his roughest outing of the year on Sunday and it turned out to be his shortest start of the season. He was pulled after 3.2 innings with six runs already in on five hits and three walks, including a grand slam homer in the fourth. Hensley has allowed four runs or more in three of his 11 starts and has kept the opposition to two runs or less in seven of those. Even after allowing five hits in 16 at bats on Sunday he is still limiting the opposition to a .199 average against.
Greg Sain hit his third home run in the last four games with Portland and now has an RBI in four straight games. Sain had not knocked in runs in more than two straight while playing with Mobile and he managed just five homers in 64 games for the BayBears. Five of his six hits with Portland have gone for extra bases and he has eight RBI’s over the last four games.
Mobile won 8-3
Sean Thompson went six innings and allowed one run on seven hits and two walks while striking out seven. The lefty has given up two runs or less in five of his last seven starts, dropping his ERA from 10.12 to 4.22. He has allowed seven or more hits in five of his nine starts with Mobile and struck out seven or more for the seventh time in 15 starts combined between Lake Elsinore and Double-A. Thompson also executed a sacrifice bunt and singled to drive in a run.
Tortured by a 2-for-29 slump that has tanked his average from .360 to .266 Joe Gerber made a move to get back on the map by collecting more hits on Sunday, three, than during his slump. He hit a two-out grand slam in the fifth inning to springboard Mobile to victory. He raised his average to .289 after the night but did commit an error, his second in as many days.
Lake Elsinore had the day off
Fort Wayne won 4-2
Vern Sterry got the nod, his third start of the year, and performed just as well as his previous two starts. In five innings, Sterry gave up two unearned runs on three hits while striking out six. Sterry is now 2-0 with a 1.10 ERA in 16.1 innings. He has struck out 13 and has not walked a batter in his starts. Sterry had a 5.19 ERA in 16 relief appearances but has lowered that to 3.88 with his starts.
Matt Varner earned his Midwest League leading 23rd save of the year, which is also tops in all the minors. It is his first save since recording the save in the Midwest League All-Star game. It is the 15th straight appearance that Varner has not allowed a run and he has given up just seven hits during that span.
“It was fun,” Varner said of the all-star festivities. “The whole three days, we had a good time. The All-Star game, I was just having fun. I went out and tried to shut the door and it happened. I wasn’t really taking too much into it, just trying to get three outs before they scored.”
Eugene lost 5-4
John Madden, picked by the Padres in the eighth round out of Auburn, took the loss when his throwing error began a downward spiral in the bottom of the ninth. A passed ball followed by Billy Killian and Madden loaded the bases, giving way to Brandon Higelin who allowed a single to the first batter he faced. Madden has some of the strangest stat lines through three games. Last time out he was charged with a blown save when two runs crossed the plate but he ended up with the win. Despite an ERA of 0.00 (all three runs allowed have been unearned) he is 1-1. Madden went 6-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 44 appearances for Auburn. He recorded seven saves and allowed 27 runs, 17 earned, in 86.1 innings.
Steve Delabar made his second start of the year for the Ems, going five innings and allowing two runs on six hits and two walks while also hitting two batters. They are his first runs allowed this year after pitching a five inning gem on opening night. Delabar has hit three batters this year after hitting six batters in 17 outings a year ago between Peoria and Eugene.
Nick Hundley went 2-for-4 with two RBI’s – the only Ems player to record a multi-hit game. He has recorded consecutive multi-hit games to open the year and has scored a run in each game. Newcomer Josh Alley is also 4-for-7 to open the year and nabbed his first stolen base of the year. He also hit into a double play.